Tony & Melissa: Black Hills Wedding Photographer

Tony and Melissa, thank you so much for asking me to be a part of this day! I’ve absolutely loved getting to know you, and am not at all surprised at the personal details and fun-loving vibe you were able to incorporate into your day. Enjoy a few of my favorites! —js

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Melissa Says: There were so many memorable moments from the day, but the most memorable moment was probably our first look. The day had started very calm and fun with my girls as we got ready, but as we reached the venue (and the clouds were closing in) I began to get nervous! Seeing him for the first time that day without anyone else around was so exciting and oddly calming (and one of the only moments we shared alone that entire day). Even as the rain started coming down, all my cares went away and everything from that point felt perfect. We had written letters to each other that morning and exchanged them at that time and reading his letter to me I couldn’t hold back the tears, it was so sweet and meaningful, and something we can keep forever to remember just how we felt about one another on that day.

Tony Says: When Melissa tapped me on the shoulder wearing the most beautiful dress I could ever imagine, that was probably the most memorable moment. She looked so beautiful I teared up.

Jessica’s take: Although the wedding day was full of wonderful moments, my favorite moment happened before the wedding day even arrived.  I met Melissa for coffee to catch up and to chat last minute logistics a few days prior to the big day. I asked her what she was most excited about, and she told me simply, through the sweetest tears, “To be married to Tony. I’ve been in love with him for so long, and I can’t believe it’s finally here.” I couldn’t get that out of my mind as I spent the day with them, and it reminded me of just how lucky I am to be a part of people’s stories.

Melissa Says: Because I was a DIY bride, all of the details were so special, but my dress had to be my favorite! I’ve never felt the way I felt that day wearing that dress! It had the most beautiful beading and just the right amount of sparkle! I could have lived in that dress! I also loved the wedding photos of our loved ones. It was a tribute to the successful marriages we hope to emulate and had couples from both Tony’s mom and dad’s side and my mom and dad’s side and it is just neat to think of families coming together as one through marriage.

Tony Says: There were so many cool details… the live band, pig roast, balloon drop, the bar Melissa’s uncle built us… all of it came together and we were so glad everyone had a good time!

Jessica’s Take: I loved Melissa’s bouquet, as well as the planted herbs at the reception. They were sweet and simple—and smelled good! And, I love a dog in a bow tie. Louie looked so dapper!

Melissa Says: My advice for couples planning their wedding would be to have fun with it, not everything will go as planned, but you truly don’t mind because at the end of the day, you’re married, and that’s what counts. I would also say get as much done beforehand because there’s a lot you can’t do until last minute, and you want to be able to enjoy that time with your husband or wife-to-be and friends and family arriving!

Tony Says: If she says “Do you want to hire this out?” say “YES!” The less you have to do, the better. That way you can be in the moment and enjoy this time with your loved ones. Also, you are extremely exhausted afterwards so having someone designated to take care of the clean up is really helpful.

Melissa Says: Getting to say “my husband” has been fun, ha ha! But honestly just knowing Tony has my back no matter what is the best feeling. Planning our honeymoon, having married people conversations, and just every day little things feel different than before. I feel like I won the lottery and I could not be happier!

Tony Says: Knowing that I get to wake up next to Melissa for the rest of my life is definitely the best part about being married so far. And that we finally have our house back from wedding take-over!

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Geoff & Jackie: Black Hills Wedding Photographer

Geoff and Jackie, thank you for asking me to be a part of your wedding day. I’m so grateful that our paths crossed, and that I got to be among the wonderful group of people who witnessed your first moments as husband and wife. I hope your time spent here was even better than you imagined it could be. Enjoy a few of my favorites! —js

 


 

Jackie Says: The moment (or moments, really) when it all came together: all of the things that we planned and could never have planned – the extra efforts of so many to ensure that loved ones could be there; the talents shared in the ceremony and reception; details that were unexpected gifts from our friends and families; and even the weather! At that moment, there was an overwhelming rush of love and gratitude for all who came together to create to an unbelievable day and celebrate the beginning of our marriage.

Geoff Says: Looking out from the altar at the beautiful hills and all of the smiling, loving, and supportive faces looking back at us.

Jessica’s Take: I feel like this is cheating, but the whole ceremony was incredible. It was made up of a hundred tiny incredible moments; happy tears, laughter, and loving glances.

What was your favorite detail of the wedding day?

Jackie Says: Since we live 1,500 miles away, this was a destination wedding for not only us, but many of our family and friends – and more of a wedding week. My favorite part of the week was having all of our family and friends in one place and exploring the Black Hills with them – sometimes in person, sometimes via their Instagram posts. South Dakota will always be my home and is a place where we have so many wonderful memories as a couple – it was meaningful to be able to share a special place with the people that we love most. Also, buttercream donut cakes from The Donut Shop on the hill in Pierre!

Geoff Says: There are too many details to choose from, but the one that sticks with me most is sitting around the fire with my family sipping scotch and laughing. That, and the walk back from the ceremony to our cabin after the party, staring up at the stars.

Jessica’s Take: I loved that the details of this wedding seemed effortless and simple, in the most elegant way. Among my favorites were the leather guestbook, Jackie’s antique earrings (a gift from her groom), and the incredible floral arrangement (by Jenny’s Floral) at the altar.


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Brandon and Nicole: Rapid City Engagement Photographer

Brandon and Nicole, you were so fun to photograph, and I cannot wait to hang out with you again for your wedding day—which I imagine will be even more fun (and full of more laughter if that’s even possible). Thank you for spending this evening with me! Enjoy a few of my favorites! —js 

 


 

My favorite thing about Brandon is his work ethic. God has blessed him with many talents and works hard to use them to hopefully make a difference in the world we live in today. He strives to do his best and provide for his family in every way.

You knew you’d marry him when…
I knew that I would one day marry Brandon before I even met him. I prayed for many years for a man like him and God truly blessed me with a man far better than I could have even imagined. He is kind, strong, confident, funny, and smart beyond belief. When my aunt met him at a dinner one evening before I moved back to the area, even she knew that he may very well be my future husband. She called me and told me just as much that day. Here we are seven months later, planning to begin a new journey in life as one.

My favorite thing about Nicole is her personality. She is kind and caring to each person she meets and I can see that she is going to be great mom someday.

You knew you’d marry her when…
I knew I was going to marry her after our third date. We had great conversation that night. So when I got home I prayed over our time together and what God’s will was for us. It was evident in that moment that she was the one God chose for me to spend my life with.

 


 

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Kevin and Ashley: Rapid City Engagement Photographer

Kevin and Ashley, I am so happy we got to spend this afternoon together! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to make this (very fun) day happen. So excited about your wedding day! Enjoy a few of my favorites. —js


Ashley, what’s your favorite thing about Kevin?
I like shopping second hand; Kevin’s profile pic was of him in his new convertible.  Our first date was relaxing and our conversation easy, but I worried that Kevin was more refined than myself.  That when he saw my stark, thrift store decorated apartment, he’d have second thoughts.  It wasn’t that he was willing to try something new or that he is a voice of reason to balance my sometimes whimsy ideas that makes our relationship work.  The way Kevin and I communicate to share ideas, interests and even challenge each other is like nothing I’ve ever experienced.  Kevin’s personality and way of looking at the world complements my own.  He took on the challenge to set up my $10 garage sale purchase of a projector and screen in our dining room, I’ve fallen in love with evening drives in his car, and I’m a better traveler when I’m with him, even my parents agree.  He takes my ideas and helps me make something of them that we can share together, all while making me laugh and see the world in a way I never could have managed on my own. 

You knew you’d marry him when… 
Part of what made our first date so cool was how much we shared about our dreams and goals, both personally and professionally; I maybe had a hint then that this relationship had some real potential.  Kevin and I are both busy people, but I’ve never felt like our relationship has gotten in the way of new goals or that our jobs have gotten in the way of our relationship.  We’ve never prevented each other from reaching toward something, and that was certainly true when Kevin took a job in Pierre, thereby expanding the miles in our already long-distance relationship.  We were over an hour and a half apart for the first two years, so every moment we spent together was something special.  Sensing I was having a hard week, there was one time after he moved when he surprised me by jumping in the car and driving the three hours so we could share less than a day together.  He also knew that my smile would be even brighter when I opened the door if I saw not only him, but also our cat.  I knew I’d marry him when I looked back and realized not only how much fun I have when I’m with him, but how open, kind and genuine he is when life gets hard. 

Kevin, what’s your favorite thing about Ashley?
The lens that I look at the world through is a well-blazed trail that is lit in black and white. The lens Ashley uses is fascinating. She is always full of new ideas and ambitions – creativity is her super power. She sees a problem and knows that by doing her part she can make a difference. She spurs people to try new things – often of her own culinary creation. Ashley sees the strengths in her students and gives them the space and support to cultivate them. Best of all, she challenges me – because of her I am a better person. She shares her magical lens and makes me the best version of myself.

You knew you’d marry her when…
Our first date was simple and felt so wonderful – I had an inkling that good things were in store for us. We proceeded to have memorable dates—such as when we ended up helping search and rescue locate a man lost in Custer Park. Since Ashley was teaching an hour and a half away in Pine Ridge, I often only had our evening phone conversations to look forward to. She would visit me in Rapid City most weekends and if she could hitch a ride with a Jesuit who was coming to town, she would. After a couple of months, I realized that I couldn’t imagine looking at the upcoming weeks, months, or years and not have her be a part of them. So when did I know I would marry her? Last Tuesday, yesterday, today, and every day since the day she slipped in as a character in my biography.


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Adam & Nicole: Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer

Nicole and Adam, I’m so happy it was me that got to be a part of your wedding day! It was incredible, and there’s nothing better than a bride and groom who can’t stop smiling (that’s you!). Thank you for having me, and for making me want to smile right alongside you. Enjoy a few of my favorites! —js

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What was the most memorable moment from your wedding day? 

Nicole Says: Our wedding day was absolutely perfect! Can we go back and do it all again?! My favorite moment of the day was walking up to see Adam for the first time. I had been feeling pretty calm for the majority of the day, but when we were walking down to see him, all my nerves hit me at once. Once I finally got to the spot we were meeting and I saw how handsome he looked, all my emotions took over. I am grateful we had this time together before the wedding. It is a moment I will cherish forever.

Adam Says: I think all the moments leading up to and including the first look. Once I started getting dressed my nerves kicked into overdrive. Sitting in my room wondering when, where, how it was all going to go down. I had a thousand thoughts a second rolling through my mind. When I opened Nikki’s gift to me and it ended up being something obviously meant for her dad, all those nerves were flushed from my body and I was able to laugh and enjoy what was about to come. Soon after, we went outside and enjoyed our first look and it was the perfect start to our perfect day.

Jessica’s Take: There was so much about this day that made my heart want to burst! I always feel like the toasts at the reception say a lot about the couple getting married and the people who love them most—and the toasts given by their maid of honor and best man were amazing. I was laughing and nearly crying and feeling such joy along with all of their guests. And my other favorite moment is a surprise for the bride and groom, and is at the very end of this post!

What was your favorite detail of the wedding day?

Nicole Says: I can’t just choose one! I think the little details are all my favorite!! I did LOVE my dress though. The mix between the sparkle and lace was a perfect combination. A close second would be the flowers. When you entered the church you could smell the fragrant flowers we had lined down the aisle.  I was also in awe of our wedding cake when we entered the reception. I didn’t know exactly how it would turn out, but it was beautiful.

Adam Says: The string quartet was pretty awesome, even though we didn’t get to enjoy them very long. That’s something I could’ve sat and enjoyed for hours if given the chance.

Jessica’s Take: I loved Nicole’s necklace, which she had made for her wedding day with her grandmother’s diamond. It was stunning, and I love when heirlooms are included.

Any advice for other couples planning a wedding?

Nicole Says: Have fun with the process, don’t worry about insignificant details. On your wedding day, take time to look around the room and take in the beauty of your wedding. Look around the room at all the people who love you and are there to celebrate with you. The love in the room will overwhelm you.

Adam Says: Hire a wedding planner and use their preferred vendors. It really sets your special day up for success. While most people are worried about decorating/cleanup of the venue, you’ll be able to use that extra time with your guests, friends and family because the wedding planner is taking care of all of that. Everyone says how fast it goes and that’s no joke. Enjoy the day and all the hard work your bride put into planning it!

What’s the best part about being married so far?

Nicole Says: Adam’s cooking! Ha! No, I love doing life with Adam. I couldn’t ask for a better partner.  Being with Adam everyday and starting to build our lives together has been the best part of being married so far.

Adam Says: Knowing I’ll be waking up next to Nikki’s dimply, smiling face every day for the rest of my life. Also, not having some sort of wedding planning taking up all of our free time. Now we’re free to just enjoy each other and start planning our life together.


 

 

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3…2…1…HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

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